The real life of a children’s book editor

I was going to write about the difference between writing series in a shared world and standalones, but that’s a little too high-maintenance a post for 11 at night. So instead I’m going to write about the new TV show, The Return of Jezebel James. If you read the PW Children’s Bookshelf, you’ll see how the HarperCollins editors were consulted on it and how they take it with a grain of salt. Obviously it’s TV, so it’s not going to be true to life, but it’s fun to see the little details.

I thought the show just aired for the first time last week, but apparently there are 3 episodes online at, so I am currently watching the pilot episode.

First off, I was NOT expecting a laugh track. Dang, I thought it would be a longer drama, not a sitcom. Instant turnoff, I’m afraid. I like comedies, but not comedies that have to tell me when to laugh.

Oh, how nice it would be to have an assistant who makes all my appointments for me. Wow, that’s a really nice big

But overall, it’s kind of fun to have children’s book references all over the place. “Sorry, Dad, gotta go, Beatrix Potter’s on the other line.” I love the work scenes–“B&N hates the cover,” etc.

She’s kind of a scatterbrained, endearing kind of character. I can’t handle the fake crying. But I don’t think I’ll be watching this beyond the pilot. Endearing or not, the sitcom thing… I don’t know.

Then again, the end of the episode wasn’t as painful as most sitcoms. About halfway into most Friends episodes, I have to stop watching because it’s embarrassing to watch the sheer stupidity of some of the characters and the lengths they go to to be supposedly funny. This show? Not so bad. Perhaps I’ll give it a couple more shows to decide. It was made by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who did Gilmore Girls.

ETA: Now watching 2nd episode. And somehow her house changed from pilot to 2nd episode. Wow, that’s a pretty big apartment for New York City. I think it’s even bigger than the house I share with four girls here in Seattle. But what a CUTE little library she has? And I must admit the writing is quite snappy! And the acting is much better. Less fake.
ETA: Also, no editor would ever refer to an author as a “client.”